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Carmen's Children Poetry Corner
Nikki's Verse
Home | Meet Nikki Grimes | Nikki's Verse | Module 1: The Poetry Environment | Module 4 - Poetry Across the Curriculum | Module 3 - Poetry Performance | Module 5 - Multicultural Poetry | Module 6 - Responding to Poetry | Bibliography | Module 2: Major Poets | Books by Nikki Grimes

"I don't have a single favorite poem.  However,
the one poem of my own that sums up what I try to
do in my work, is a poem titled "The Dream".  It
is the opening poem in my collection,
A Dime A Dozen."

- Nikki Grimes

from an email received on Friday, June 11, 2004



from A Dime a Dozen
My girlfriend
Guadalupe knows
she's not
the only one
who speaks
two tongues.
I'm fluent in
two Englishes:
       one :Black"
       the other "good."
It pays to speak
both languages
in my neighborhood.
Extension:  I would use this poem to as an introduction to an "All About Me" unit.  Later in the unit, I would ask the students to create a short poem about something they do well.
from A Dime a Dozen
His too big feet
fill the chalk square
of my hopscotch box
but he doesn't care
or seem to notice
the kids across the street
laughing out loud
everytime his size tens
spill over the white line.
"You doin' just fine,"
I tell him, and wink.
I'll keep my dad, I think.
Extension:  Have your class create a web about fun things fathers do with their children.  Have students use the internet to search for other poems about fathers.
Grandma Mac
from Stepping Out with Grandma Mac
Most of my friends
Have at least one
Grandparent to spare,
And some have four
Or six or eight
Who debate
Which of them
Gets to borrow
The grandkid next.
As for me,
I only got
One grandparent
Still living.
Then again
With Grandma Mac
I've pretty much got
My hands full.
Extension:  Have a class discussion about families and then have students research their family and create a family tree.
Home Run
from  When Daddy Prays
The pitcher stabs
the ground with
a sneakered toe,
rocks back,
cranks his arm,
and whooossh!
throws a fast,
hard stare.  His
snarling lips dare
me to step up
to the plate, but
I don't scare easy.
I grip that bat
like it's a branch
and I'm the tree
and we are one,
and I hear my
daddy's cries rise
from the stands--
"Rip a line drive!
Smash a grounder!
Go, batter!
Go, batter!
Go--Sweet Jesus!
Sail that ball
over the wall!"
Extension:  This would be a great poem to hang in the school's gym.  Bring in different sports items and create a class poem about some of the objects.
You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown
from Meet Danitra Brown
You oughta meet Danitra Brown,
the most splendiferous girl in town.
I oughta know, 'cause she's my friend.
She's not afraid to take a dare,
if something's hard, she doesn't care.
She'll try her best, no matter what.
She doesn't mind what people say.
She always does things her own way.
Her spirit's old, my mom once said.
I only know I like her best  (A)
'cause she sticks out from all the rest.  (B)
She's only she--Danitra Brown.   (C)  
Extension:  Divide the class into two groups (girls & boys).  As a class read the poem in parts.  The girls read the A lines, the boys read the B lines, and the teacher reads the C line

Above you found some of Nikki Grimes poems and activities to use with them.  I created these activities, but look for more ideas under "Teacher Tips" at
If these ideas are not helpful, do a "poetry" search and find other ideas online.